Have you ever ridden on a camel?
The other day, the twelve year old granddaughter of one of our vendors brought an item to me at the front counter. She thought it would be a good item to blog about. At first glance, it was obvious that it was a whip.
It is in fact a Camel whip from Saudi Arabia. It is a vintage (1970’s) inlaid whip with a wood and leather wrapped handle. When camels refused to move, they would use these whips to give them a smart whip on the chest. The surprising part was what I found *inside* the handle.
Inside the handle is a prodder. Camels have thick coats that protect them from the sun, and insulate them so their bodies can absorb their sweat. Their hide is very strong, with a pulling strength 5x greater than cattle hide. This prodder is used to stimulate movement. They are poked in the rump. If you have watched “Indiana Jones” movies you will have seen a prodder used on camels when the bad guys are chasing them. Camels can keep a constant speed of 45 mph. With a little prodding they can do short bursts of 65 mph. The prodder is not easily accessible and I am sure only used when necessary. Camels are amazing animals. A full grown camel stands at 6 foot 1 inch at the shoulder and 7 foot 1 inch at the hump. They have a life span of 40 to 50 years. Camels can consume 53 gallons of water in 3 minutes. So, just how long can a camel go, before its hump starts to slump or the camel is in need of water? There are records of camels going 6 to 7 months without water.
In the few years that Grandma’s Attic has been open, we have had a camel saddle and now a camel whip. This is pretty amazing since there aren’t too many camels in Anderson, MO!
Have you ever ridden on a camel?
When I hear the name Hitchcock I generally think of Alfred Hitchcock, writer and producer of scary movies. So it was easy for me to believe that Alfred Hitchcock could have been the maker of an electric chair, but "Hitchcock chairs" were actually made by Lambert Hitchcock,
On a side note, did you know Alfred Hitchcock was scared of his own movies?
Alfred Hitchcock, the author and director, known as the Master of Suspense, arrived on the scene August 13, 1899. As a child, Hitchcock was sent to the local police station with a letter from his father. The desk sergeant read the letter and immediately locked the boy up for ten minutes. After that, the sergeant let young Alfred go, explaining, "This is what happens to people who do bad things." Hitchcock had a morbid fear of police from that day on. He also cited this phobia as the reason he never learned to drive (as a person who doesn't drive can never be pulled over and given a ticket). It was also cited as the reason for the recurring "wrong man" themes in his films. Mr. Alfred Hitchcock left us on April 29, 1980. Do you think Mr. Alfred Hitchcock may have sat in a chair made by Mr. Lambert Hitchcock? I guess we'll never know!
Now, back to the chair! :)
The Hitchcock chair was an early example of mass production. The frames are generally of birch, oak, or maple. The backs have a curved top with a broad gentle curved back-slat, then a broad slat that usually has a design such as; leaves, flowers, baskets of fruit or cornucopias. Below this, is a narrow crosspiece, connected to the sides, that is a continuation of the leg. The front legs and the stretcher between are nicely turned in spools, rings, or vase shapes. The seats are wider at the front and graduate back with straight sides and rolled or rounded edges in front. The front legs of some of the chairs have a ball on the bottom.
There are several types of back slats; “turtle-back,” “cut-out back slat,” - a curved back with spindles, “the pillow back”, eagles, cornucopias, plain, button back, and a crested back. The rarest of the back slats are the eagles, cornucopias, and the scrolls. About 1845, the “vase back” chair or “Urn chair” chair became popular. The wide vertical middle slat was shaped like an urn or vase. It was sometimes called “Fiddleback.” The top slats are called crest rails which are referred to as; “crown top,” “crest top,” or “pillow top.”
In the beginning the chairs resembled rosewood, because the first coat of red paint, applied by children, showed through the black, also used were the colors white and green. Later a lemon-yellow color and brown were used as a background colors. Seats were first made of rush, then cane, and then plank. They were usually painted black, brownish-black or dark green. They have yellow ochre pin striping with gold half-rings on the front legs. The stencils were painted with metallic colors like red, gold, blue and white. The designs can be found on the back and sides of the chairs.
They were marked on the back with stencil “L. Hitchcock, Hitchcocksville, Connecticut, Warranted” all in one line. Hitchcocksville would have been used when the furniture was manufactured in Boston, Massachusetts. Hitchcock chose his woods with care and allowed none to be used with knots or other imperfections. Later marks were “Hitchcock, Alford & Co. Hitchcocks-ville Conn. Warranted,” and “L. Hitchcock, Unionville. Conn. Warranted.”
The height of the Hitchcock chair sales was in the 1920’s and 30’s. The earliest signature is dated from 1820 to 1832. From 1832 to 1843 the signature read “HITCHCOCK, ALFORD& Cl HITCHCOCKSVILLE, CONN WARRANTED” and from 1843 to 1852 the signature read “L.HITCHCOCK.UNIONVILLE,CONN. WARRANTED.” In the second variation of the stencils, many of the chairs have two backwards “N’s” in the word “CONN.” This is thought to have occurred because many of the laborers who worked on the chairs were illiterate. If the “N” is written backwards, your Hitchcock chair is not an original but a replica made after 1946.
These chairs are identified as “New Hampshire Hitchcock,” or “Sheraton Hitchcock” chairs. Hitchcock is best known for their “Boston Rocker.”
The Hitchcock chair was began in 1818 by Mr. Lambert Hitchcock of Barkhamsted, Connecticut. He established a cabinet and chair factory. He began by making parts that could be assembled later for the chair industry of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1825 he began making complete chairs. Mr. Hitchcock was born in Chesshire, Connecticut on June 28, 1795 and was the son of Revolutionary soldier John Lee Hitchcock. He came to rest in 1852.
We received a call one day from a gentleman wanting to sell us a chair. We asked to see the chair before we purchased it, so he brought it to us and while it was in the store a vendor came in and said, “Oh, you have a Hitchcock chair!” After some research and dickering, the chair now resides at Grandma’s Attic. Come and check it out and let us know if you believe it is a real Hitchcock chair.
-The GA Gang
We are getting closer to the goal of placing a memorial bench at Dabb's gravesite, but we're not there yet...
Help us fund the memorial bench in honor of Dabbs Greer. Contact us at Grandmasattic493@Yahoo.com, 417-845-8000, or send us a message on our website or Facebook page, we'd love to hear from you.
We have a bank account set up for direct transfers, contact us for more information.
Thanks for all your help in getting us closer to making this a reality!
-The GA Gang
Our day in Mansfield, Mo.
Since we found that Dabbs’ date of death was missing from his headstone, we have been on the search for information. A few weeks ago, our search led us to Mansfield, Missouri, Southeast of Springfield, where two of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homes are located. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House on the Prairie books, which is what the television show “Little House on the Prairie” was based on. We really enjoyed our day at Rocky Ridge Farm.
One of the things I found interesting was that Laura’s husband’s name was pronounced Al-”man”-zo not Al-”mon”-zo. It seems creating a role for television made a change in the way the name is pronounced.
I fell in love with the rock house that Laura and Almanzo’s daughter, Rose, had built for them as a retirement home. The front opening up for air flow and overlooking a beautiful valley, the water cistern, the stone, and even the design by the stone mason when he put the rock together all show that the home was built with love.
While we were in the museum, we found out that we have a few items in Grandma’s Attic that are similar to, or exactly like, some of Laura and Rose’s favorite possessions.
There were pieces of Depression glass throughout the rock house.
All of these pieces of Depression glass are for sale at Grandma's Attic
In the museum, there was a leather postcard.
In the corner of the museum displaying Rose’s possessions, there was a set of Stangl “blueberry” pottery dishes.
There was a lovely lilac bush in the front yard of Laura and Almanzo’s original farm house. This house was a house built with love over time. The kitchen had first been attached to a log cabin then moved across the yard to be the beginning of what grew into a farm house over time, complete with a library and music room.
We ended the day with a visit to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s village which is also located in Mansfield, Missouri. It is a fun village, where you learn the story of how it started with a seed finding trip, and now has hundreds of varieties of natural seeds.
With annual weekend festivals at Baker Creek and the prospect of more exploration of the Rock House....
Mansfield is one up for a second visit from me!
Robert William “Dabbs” Greer
(April 2, 1917 – April 28, 2007)
This very familiar face has been seen in films and especially on TV for fifty years. This American actor was a sort of "everyman" in his roles and played merchants, preachers, businessmen, and other "pillars of the community" types as well as assorted villains. With his plain looking face and wavy hair he was a solid supporting actor. His distinctive, mellow, southern-accented voice fit well in shows featuring rustic characters, such as westerns. He also was portrayed on other shows as a minister, and is probably best remembered as the Reverend Robert Alden in NBC's Little House on the Prairie.
Dabbs was born in Fairview, Missouri (which is about 200 miles north and East of Anderson, Mo.), but he was reared in Anderson, Missouri. He was the only child of a pharmacist father, Randall Alexander Greer, and a speech therapist mother,
Bernice Irene. It is said that he got his stage name, "Dabbs", from his grandmother, who's maiden name was Dabbs.
His first acting experience was on stage in a children's theatre production when he was eight years old. He made his film debut as an extra in the 1938 film Jesse James, which was filmed mainly in Pineville, Missouri. "They were paying $5 a day – a day! – to local people for being extras. That was really good money in those days, more money than we had seen in a long time," Dabbs told the Neosho Daily News in 2002.
He attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, where he earned a BA. He was a member of Theta Kappa Nu, and headed the drama department and Little Theatre in Mountain Grove, Missouri, from 1940-43. He then moved on to the famed Pasadena Playhouse in California as actor, instructor and administrator from 1943-50. He made his film debut in Reign of Terror (1949) (aka "The Black Book") in an uncredited bit part and went on to appear in many parts during the next 50 years. Greer's last feature film was a prominent role as the 108-year-old version of the character played by Tom Hanks in 1999's The Green Mile – 61 years after Greer was an extra in the 1938 film Jesse James. Greer's last television performance was in a 2003 episode of Lizzie McGuire.
Dabbs played in many supporting roles, but was not a lead actor.
One quote attributed to him is
"Every character actor,
in their own little sphere,
is the lead."
And although Mr. Greer may not have played in big roles,
it's fair to say that he was pretty important.
After all, who else could have married
Rob & Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"
Mr. & Mrs. Brady on "The Brady Bunch". :)
As a side note, in the pictures below, on the left, he is playing the role of the Army chaplain at Camp Crowder, in Neosho, Missouri, which is only approx. 15 minutes North of Anderson.
In 2007, at the age of 90, he died at Huntington Hospital after a losing battle with liver and heart disease. Greer never married and had no survivors. His resting place is Peace Valley Cemetery in Anderson, MO. Grandma’s Attic is located in Anderson, and we are proud to say that Dabbs Greer was raised here and is buried in a local cemetery.
The cemetery is approx. 2 miles from Grandma's Attic, if you happen to be in the area and would like to visit his resting place, we'd be more than happy to give you directions! You might also enjoy a visit to "Dabbs Greer Town Hole Park" just off Main Street in Anderson.
We have enjoyed researching the life of Mr. Greer, and we hope you enjoy reading about it as well!